Thursday, October 29, 2009

DIY Organization

Since I was feeling so overwhelmed by the number of projects I decided to do more lists!  Fun.  Yeah, making these spreadsheets was kind of boring and annoying, but in the end I feel a little better simply by having everything written down.  I tend to be a bit scatter-brained and bitchy when I have too much going on, hopefully this will help. 

  Example you can copy!

Anyone doing diy organization?  Am I going psycho with the lists?

Eye Candy-Card Holder

Here is my adorable cardholder.

Of course the future hubs thinks it's dumb that we're using a birdcage for a cardbox, which according to him should be a BOX.  I can see where he's coming from, but then I remember that it doesn't matter because this is just the sort of girly cute little thing I can obsess over.  He kindly obliges me. 

I purchased this second-hand for $15 from the lovely bride who also sold me my guest tablecloths for $4.35 a piece.  I'll make a little "Cards" card and use some of the purple lantern ribbon to tie it shut, a pretty easy project.
This whole diy wedding thing is putting my creative crafty side in overdrive.  I am an artistic person, I like making things, decorating, drawing and gardening.  This wedding stuff is taking that candle of creativity and turning into a 1000 Watt bulb.  The hubs is sweet about it, he says I'm going to drive myself nuts but he thinks it's cute.  He prefers function over form, and I prefer both at 100%.  I understand that bridesmaids usually help with this stuff, but my maid-of-honor is knocked up and planning for her own, enormous, baby shower/birthday in a few months.  My other bridesmaid actually clocked out on me because she will be 8 months pregnant on the big day, plus she lives 4 hours away.  My sister is in college and I don't like to ask for too much of her time.  Fortunately my man is a sweetheart and will continue to help me with my little projects so I don't go crazy. 

So, anyone out there feel like maybe they are getting in too deep in the diy pool?  Who's helping you with projects?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet the Vendors - Venue

I can't say enough good things about our venue, as I'm sure you picked up from my previous gushing.  The owners are very easy-going and responsive to my questions.  It was the first venue we visited, and nothing else could compare to the atmosphere and value. 

Front view of the inn.
There are 7 guests rooms plus a loft, 2 living rooms and kitchens, a big banquet room, a game room complete with wet bar,'s huge.  Then there is the outdoor space.

The winding path down to the ceremony site in the forest.
There is a spot just off the banquet room for a very large tent, ours won't even take up half.  This grassy area backs up to the woods, and if you follow the lighted trail down the hill you will arrive at a clearing. 

This will be our ceremony site if the weather holds up.

Hopefully I will be scoring about 60 free mason jars.  We will be wiring these to be hung in the trees with candles all around the clearing.  It's so peaceful and lush and beautiful down there, I am hoping with every ounce of my brain that it does not rain.  I really want to take advantage of this magical little spot.  If the clouds do open up we'll have to squeeze into the inn somewhere or do the whole shabang under the tent.  I really do not like that second option.

Hopefully I get my wish.

Etsy Obsession...

Oh mama...

You can buy these here.

Etsy is a lot of things to me, a place to make some money, to let my creativity flow, and to get amazing ideas! 
My Etsy obsession of the day is PaperEclectiques, a lovely shop that sells beautiful paper creations with vintage flair.  Gorgeous gift tags, table numbers, and decorations.  I am picking up a set of the above beauties for my table numbers.  They will look outstanding nestled on top of my vintage tea tins!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DIY-Lacey Lanterns

I'm really still at the collecting stage, just hording things that I find for a good price. One thing I have started are the ‘lanterns,’ which consist of cylinder vases wrapped in lace. It was a cheap way to get the look I wanted, and hopefully some other bride will want to use them after me.  These will be my centerpieces, there will be two per guest table, and one for our sweetheart table.

All you need for this project is a clean cylinder vase, any ribbon or trim that strikes your fancy, scissors and floral/glass glue.  I found floral glue at Michaels, it's in the aisle with all the vase filler, floral foam and flower picks.  It is a green tube and it is specifically for glass and floral related materials.  I haven't tried it on floral foam but I will have the opportunity soon. 

I start by test wrapping the ribbon wherever I'm going to put it on the vase, and then cutting the piece leaving about 1/4" of overlap.  These vases are not perfect, and I learned the hard way not to cut a bunch of identical pieces of ribbon because they will not all work.  Start with your vase laying on it's side with the ribbon under it, and a piece of paper or something under everything to protect whatever surface you are working on. 

Pick up one end of ribbon and apply some glue, not too much or it will spooge out and stick to your fingers. 

Press down lightly on the glass and hold for 30 seconds until the glue is firmed up. 

Roll the vase over so that the glued spot is underneath and apply another line of glue on the ribbon 3-4 inches from the initial glued spot. 

Pull the ribbon tight against vase (but don't stretch it) and press down on the second glue spot.  Roll again so the second glued spot is underneath the vase and continue on until you reach the end.  This glue dries clear and pretty quick which makes the whole process easier. 

Thin I tie a plum colored skinny ribbon in between the top two pieces of lace for some color, this is a great opportunity to work in your colors for very little money. 

If I could do it all over again I would have tried harder to find a nice dark brown lace for a somewhat less girly look.  I couldn't find any at all, only black, but I think even that would look less "wedding".  What do you think?  Is too girly always a bad thing?

17 Lacey Lanterns Price Breakdown:
     17 10" cylinder vases = $20 (cheaper if you use Dollar Tree)
     14 yards lace ribbon = $4.25
     5 yards plum ribbon = $0.50
     1 tube floral glue = $3
     17 pillar candles = $17 (found at Dollar Tree)

Total = 44.75
$2.63 per lantern

Eye Candy - Dress

Let’s take stock with some eye candy shall we? First up is the inspiration for my d├ęcor ideas, my pretty vintage dress.

There is a Piccione tag, but no other identifying markers. My dry cleaner could not help with an approximate age. So far, in comparing it to other dresses with similar cut and embroidery, it looks to be from the late 60’s to early 70’s. I’ve tried to keep the alterations to a minimum in order to preserve its original charm. Since I couldn’t get the sleeves up my rather well-endowed arms I snipped them off, salvaging the lace and cuff buttons. I was left with a pretty cap sleeve effect that I am very happy with. It will get a multi-point French bustle and perhaps some lowering of the overlay in front and back to match the bust line of the sheath.

Pardon the unzipped back, my mannequin is a bit of a porker.

I have yet to purchase any accessories to go with this dress. Anyone have any ideas? Leave a message!

Next up: bird cages, lanterns, and favors oh my!

Nice to Meet You...

So now it’s on to some planning details. I’ve accumulated some vendors and gathered enough ideas to begin piecing this thing together. I learned from all of these hilariously obsessive and girly websites that weddings require a “theme,” and specific colors. This is what the internet does to people like me: you start off as a rather laid back, whatever goes kind of gal, and then you discover all of these fantastic details you can obsess over. Then you start obsessing until the people close to you start asking some questions. You realize what the hell happened and have a good laugh about it. Rinse, repeat. This is the fine line between interest and insanity that is the ‘bridal experience.’

Aren’t those some pretty pictures? I didn’t take those pictures, but kudos to whoever did, and please don’t sue me for borrowing them for a hot second. This decision on colors was easy, these are colors I’m obsessed with in my everyday life: deep plums, lavenders, creams, antique golds, bright greens, chocolate browns, even black! 
The future Mr. isn’t crazy about these colors, but I think he’s glad it’s not hot pink or something. He HATES the color brown, says it reminds him of a certain, um, bodily function. So I’m trying to keep that to a minimum and in very dark shades. I guess my ‘themes’ are rustic, vintage, and dreamy. Wait, is a rustic vintage dream a theme? Oh well, I tried. Lots of purple, lots of candles, lots of old or found objects.

Many of my design decisions have been made by availability and necessity. It is necessary that I decorate for the obscenely low amount of $275, this includes favors and stationary as well. So if it is available for the right price, I find a way to make it work.
 If there is one piece of advice I could give a diy bride it would be: make a list for every major part of your wedding. Make spreadsheets for decorations, vendors, guest list, big day timeline... On my supply and vendor lists I have what I'd like to spend as well as what I actually spend. I update them every time I buy something or hire someone. This method can help keep you on budget and from going insane, I promise. Also get a binder, I keep all of my vendor contracts, budget sheets, idea sketches, receipts and store coupons in mine. This also will keep you from going crazy.   Don't let people make you feel weird for being so organized, they'd probably make you feel weirder if you went nuts.

Next up-how to save money on necessities.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Well Hello...

Welcome to my new blog! I'm setting this up to chronicle my journey from planning through execution of a (hopefully) successful, classy, fun wedding. I hope this helps at least one other girl out there not go crazy!

Getting to Know Your Blogger:   Living in the central Pennsylvania area is good in some ways, but when it comes to planning a wedding I’ve found it to be pretty limiting. There just isn’t the sheer number of vendors that places like the Philadelphia region has. I’ve been to plenty of weddings around here and they are all pretty much alike, same decorations, same crappy DJ, same overpriced and over-salted catering food.

Awww...after my graduation in 2006

So far in my life I’ve managed to be somewhat abnormal. Some people call it “weird” and other people call it “interesting” so we’ll just stick with ‘abnormal.’ My sweetheart and I met while I was in college working toward an engineering degree. My internship at his job threw us together in what was at first an uneasy mentor/student relationship. This soon developed into a friendship and later, obviously, love.
We have been dating for over 6 years. The first 5 years were long distance because of college, and then my first job. After ten months of living together and getting along just peachy, I asked my best friend to marry me. He was quite surprised, hesitated for an agonizing moment, and then said yes! Later he told me how he was planning to ask me that summer after he’d saved for a ring. So right now neither of us has an engagement ring. Can you tell we like doing things back-assward?

This blog is starting seven months after the engagement. At first I couldn’t really get into it, as we had planned for a late 2010 or even 2011 wedding. As time went on we wondered why we had pushed it out so far, and swung in the complete other direction by discussing a fall 2009 courthouse affair. I was into it until I realized that now, for the first time, I wanted to do something for real, something big, something that showed where I stood in life.

I realized it would cost more money, and time, and probably tears, but I just couldn’t shake it. I’m so proud of our relationship, and the many, many storms it has weathered to get to this point, a courthouse appointment just seemed like a cop out, a meek declaration. Please don’t think I am bashing courthouse weddings, I think they are fabulous!! For us, for the mountain we had to climb, and my personal family history, I needed a big ole’ party.

So now I’m in full on wedding planning mode, tackling way too many diy projects, including the dress, and spending uncomfortable amounts of money. Our budget started at $3,000 which was ‘doable’ for us. Now it’s over $4,000 due to vendor costs. Did I mention we are doing the catering ourselves? Yeah, $4,000 for a 50 guest, self-catered wedding. The only consolation I can give myself is that none of our (many) out-of-town guests will need to pay for hotel rooms since our venue sleeps 26. I’m still feeling awful, and selfish about the decision to do a traditional wedding, but there really isn’t any turning back now unless we forfeit deposits. Many people would think this is pennies for a nice wedding, but to me it’s an enormous sum. The national average of $25,000 does make me feel better about it though!

Question of the Day:  Anyone else out there feeling upside-down about spending so much money on a wedding?  How did you resolve this with yourself?

More to come…